"the effect": 2-1 "Brave New World", or "Square One"
This is the story of how I died to save the world.
I’d like to start with a song lyric. You youngins won’t understand this, but it’ll get my point across.
"Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world,
And ends up making payments on a sofa or a girl.
Love ‘n’ hate tattooed across the knuckles on his hands.
The hands that slap his kids around cos they don’t understand…
How --- ‘Death or Glory’ --- becomes just another story…"
Death or Glory, The Clash
That’s how I feel now. My name was Ash Grey. Well, that’s what I preferred. My real name was Mercutio. I didn’t like to inform people of that then, but now, I’m beyond caring. This is my last story.
Splashdown in New Orlocksville
I assume you’ve read Penta’s biography on the last misadventures in my first life by now (He kept on writing about me from the sickbed I put him in. What a trooper). They were some of the few documents left after the Illuminati sacked the Hall of Manifestation and killed all the occupants. It wasn’t too hard, I imagine. No one believed in imaginary gods then, while the real monsters walked the earth.
If you’ve read those, the last thing that Penta saw happen to me was that I disappeared off the face of the planet, as you undoubtedly recall. Well, as you might imagine, my story didn’t end there. I went forwards through time. About 150 years in the future, as I learned later.
The clouds opened up, and out I fell. I believe now it was a twenty-foot drop, but at the time I was too busy screaming my ass off to count. So, I hit desert sand and blacked out. I woke up much later, to find myself, surprisingly enough, in the same spot I’d been in before. I took a quick check of all of my agonizing pains.
1 head, bleeding, maybe a concussion.
Ribs, at least five or six broken.
Arms, my left was broken, the right one hurt.
Ankles, both broken.
This took two minutes. After that, for a little change of pace, I tried screaming. After that got old and throat-hurty, I spat out a couple teeth and blacked out again.
When I came to, my face was wet. I opened my eyes, and saw a burly soldier-type guy bending over me and holding a bucket in his hands. Here’s the strange thing. His eyes were glowing bright blue. Just like Aliciana’s were when I last saw her. He yelled into my face.
"You, alive, outlander?"
I paused, then replied. "HELP ME!"
"Ernest! Get that car over here! We got us a live one here!"
A jeep, presumably driven by Ernest, pulled up, and the two men raised me into the back in a stretcher. The jeep took off towards a city in the distance.
"Where we goin’?"
The soldier who wasn’t Ernest turned to me and said, "The last bastion of civilization left on this decrepit planet. New Orlocksville."
I was sorry I’d asked. We were in the middle of a huge desert, which I assumed was the Sahara, the Gobi, or even Nevada. I was very mistaken. More on that later.
I didn’t really get much of a tour of New Orlocksville, because the hospital was right on the outskirts. There was one thing I did find odd about the city, though. One side was covered in a great dome.
I checked in to Stokerton Hospital on the fifth day of January, AL 150. Which made it something like the year 2152 AD. Spooky. Some of my doctors had the glowy-eyes look going on, although most of the nurses and custodial staff didn’t. The doctors were very excited about me. They kept saying something that disturbed me a lot. "Fresh blood."
Five weeks of intensely painful surgery later, I was transferred to Huxley Common Hospital, located in the beautiful un-domed section of N.O., or the "Big Straw", as I later heard it called. Here, the staff all sported normal human eyes. One of my nurses, Luisa, gave me a big history book to read. This was one of the things that distressed me about the future. There was a noticeable lack of new technology. The book was made of paper, and I saw a considerable lack of hovercars. When I asked Luisa about this, she handed me the book, and stalked off, looking scared. For all of you that cared about Mother Earth, you will hate this book. Just warning you.
The Fall of Earth, and The Restoration At The Hands of Our Lord, Lithpicis Von Carfiels
(Just looking at the title gave me a chill. At least PhilMcCrackus Imponith, Esquire, didn’t write it. His books hurt my knees. No, if I remember right, it was this bastard.)
Written by Our Lord Lithpicis Von Carfiels, as dictated to Illuminati High Council Member Number Seventeen.
In the horrible year BL 812, a great thing happened to the world. This was the year that our Great Leader, Lithpicis Von Carfiels, began his Ascent to Godliness. In this year, Our Lord was blessed with the gift of the Thrall, and the bestowment of the Gift of Dracul.
(It went on like this for a hundred pages or so, documenting the meteoric rise of Phil. On page 114, I found an interesting little anecdote.)
In the titanic Battle of New York City, Lithpicis was at the head of his armies as they marched in to the wretched city. Only one obstacle stood in the way of the happiness of the world. Mercutio the Foul. He was once a comrade of our lord, and now, at Our Lord’s greatest hour, he alone stood in the way of Progress. The battle raged for hours, neither side gaining the upper hand. Just then, at the height of battle, the turncoat Mercutio stabbed Our Lord in the back and threw him off a tall edifice.
From the depths of defeat, a wondrous thing happened! Our Lord grew wings! He used these new acquisitions to scale an enormous height, and defeat the interloper Mercutio. He then banished the traitor to the Nether Regions, and in that moment, the world was free of tyranny.
(Bastards! They never even asked me what happened! Now, here’s the part that really pissed me off. What he did after he killed me.)
After Our Lord defeated Mercutio the Foul at New York, he took Aliciana Underwood to be his queen to reign over the safety of the world together always. The victorious armies of Lithpicis returned to his favorite settlement of them all, Valleyfield. Here, he made his throne, and the city was transformed into New Orlocksville. And it was here, in Holy Orlocksville, that Lithpicis Von Carfiels exterminated the remnants of the human race not under his control.
The twin cycles of life, that of the Illuminati and that of the Humans continues anew in Orlocksville and outlying settlements, each giving to the other, and receiving what they need.
(That was all the bullshit I could handle in one sitting. I tried to summon up my other form, Berserker Ash, to kick some ass, but all I did was tire myself out. I fell into a deep sleep.)
Dream Sequence of Eternal Hatred
She made me remember this dream always. It gave me hope in my darkest days.
first, darkness. then I look up from my spot on the desert floor again, and a glimmering form appears above me.
"ash. you don’t know me, but you will soon."
"who are you?"
"my name is not important yet. now that you know what has happened since you’ve left, you must do one thing. the one thing you do best. fight back."
"how am i supposed to fight a whole society?"
"one word. revolution. you must avenge the human race."
"i’ll need help. i’m just one guy, here."
"there is a group that is attempting to fight back at phil. they need only a leader. you will be that leader."
and then the dream finishes.